The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach
By Pam Jenoff
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Back in the city, Adelia's friendship with Charlie deepens and, eventually, they declare their feelings for one another but just as they are ready to share this news with their families a tragedy tears the Connelly family apart and they disappear from Philadelphia. When next they meet, Charlie is a soldier and Adelia is working for a newspaper in Washington, DC. It's apparent that the feelings they had for one another are still there but Adelia isn't ready to face them and runs, asking her boss to send her to the paper's London office where her translation and copy editing skills can be put to use in covering the war.
Almost another year passes before Charlie arrives in London in advance of the Normandy Invasion. Adelia has grown in their time apart, finding her place in journalism as well as being changed and strengthened by the people she meets and things she has seen in war-torn London. No longer the scared young girl who idolized Charlie, she's ready to meet him as an equal. Will the timing finally be right for them or are they destined to travel roads they never anticipated?
This was my first book by Jenoff but it won't be the last. She has created a deeply emotional story of love, loss, redemption and the healing road home. She did an excellent job of capturing the emotion of war-torn London and the dawning horror of Hitler's atrocities as well as the mood of America in the days leading up to, and following, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's entry into the war. The London scenes in particular are well researched, evoking the fear, intrigue, determination, and, at times, hopelessness of those living there.
My only quibble with the book was the final four chapters. While I was happy with the outcome (it was what I had hoped for), it felt rushed to me. Jenoff was generous in the time she took to develop characters during the first three-quarters of the book. I would have liked to have seen that same generosity in the final chapters. The emotions and relationships of several characters would have been richer and more believable had more time been given to them as well as allowing more time to pass between both the tragedy and a pivotal scene in London and the end of the book.
Have you read any of Pam Jenoff's books?
Do you enjoy books set during the World War II era?
One randomly selected person leaving a comment will receive a copy of The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach and a Chelsea Beach limited edition beach bag. (US/Canada only)
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Pam Jenoff is the Quill-nominated internationally bestselling author of The Kommadant’s Girl. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master’s degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. Jenoff’s novels are based on her experiences working at the Pentagon and also as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.